Do Silver Maples Have Shallow Roots? [Are They Invasive?]
Figuring out of a tree is sturdy enough to grow in your landscape can sometimes be confusing. Do you want to try planting a silver maple but have no idea whether its roots are shallow or not? Is this light-colored maple sturdy?
We will answer all of these questions throughout this post.
Even though a silver maple can reach towering heights, this species does tend to have shallower, finer roots. Furthermore, silver maple roots grow aggressively underneath the ground's surface, which is how your tree can stand up and withstand wind/storming.
However, with shallower, more invasive roots, a silver maple might not be perfect for every garden: this comes down to what else you grow nearby.
As we start this article, we will cover all things silver maple trees and discuss what type of root system they typically have. Whether you're new to growing maples, have a tree with very shallow roots, or have other related questions, we're here to assist. With that said, let's dive right into this topic below!
Do Silver Maple Trees Have Shallow Roots?
Yes. A silver maple tree will usually have shallow, fine roots. However, in tree terms, your maple's roots may be on the shallower side, but to us, 10+ feet into the ground feels substantial.
However, most new maples and ones not fully mature will have most of their roots between 12 and 18 inches below the ground. So for such a large tree, that can be pretty shallow.
As your tree becomes larger and heavier, it's more likely for its roots to come up from the ground, exposing themselves to the open air. If you've ever seen an older silver maple tree, you've probably noticed the intricate root system around the tree's base.
On top of that, silver maple roots can become an issue for sidewalks and other plants because they're so shallow, so there are some precautions to take in your garden.
How Far Do Silver Maple Tree Roots Spread?
Moving to width, a silver maple tree's root system can sprawl upwards of 25 feet upon full maturity. Of course, a newly planted silver maple will not become this expansive so fast, but it is possible after a decade or so.
Generally, your tree will create an expansive, wide root system to withstand wind and heavy storming. More giant trees with shallow root systems are more prone to falling, so that's something you need to prepare for with a silver maple.
Furthermore, you can typically expect the roots of a silver maple to spread three times its canopy. According to experts, some older maples have roots as vast as 100 feet in either direction, which is incredible.
On the other hand, if you have a smaller garden or other plants nearby, a 100-foot root system is a major threat to everything else in your yard. Additionally, silver maples are also very fast growers. So with all these factors in mind, your once-good idea can turn sour.
Are Silver Maple Roots Invasive?
Although their roots are shallow, silver maples have incredibly invasive root systems. As we said, these roots can sprawl three times the size of your tree's branch canopy, devastating the structures and plants nearby.
Therefore, you don't want to plant a silver maple too close to sidewalks, pools, homes, or other vegetation. Failing to leave enough room for your tree can become a significant problem for living and structural things near your maple, so this is crucial.
According to Yahoo News, silver maple roots are infamous for cracking and lifting sidewalks, driveways, foundations, and even your home piping.
If your tree's roots can get under the surface of concrete or metal pipes, they will likely try and grow upwards, lifting, breaking, and destroying those items.
So, when in doubt, leave plenty of open, unobstructed space for a silver maple to grow and sprawl.
How Far Away From A House Should A Silver Maple Tree Be?
A silver maple needs to be around 100-150 feet away from your house. As we mentioned above, silver maple roots can spread up to 100 feet upon maturity, which can wreak havoc on your home's foundation and other structures/pipes.
Many experts claim that large trees can be around 30 feet from a home, but when it comes to silver maple, we recommend giving it much more space.
Especially if you have other plants or a pool/patio, planting a silver maple tree less than 100 feet can mean devastation later on. Remember, the larger and older the maple, the more significant its roots.
You might also be able to form barriers around your tree's roots to prevent spreading from happening above/below ground, but that isn't always 100% effective.
At the end of the day, a maple tree will do what it wants to, whether your home is there or not.
Can Silver Maple Trees Damage Foundation?
Yes! Even though your maple tree doesn't look intimidating right after you plant it, its roots can cause severe damage to your home's foundation.
According to Purdue University, tree roots generally are very opportunistic. Therefore, if there's friable soil and mulch: they will penetrate and overcome them.
Since the ground near a house's foundation tends to be softer, that can pose a higher risk to it if there's an invasive root system growing nearby.
Therefore, it becomes even more critical that your maple is far enough away from your foundation so this doesn't become a significant problem.
Repairing a foundation can be extremely expensive and put the structural integrity of your house at risk, so this is nothing to ignore.
How Do I Protect My Home From A Silver Maple Tree's Roots?
One of the most effective ways to prevent foundation and home damage from a silver maple is planting it far enough away. As we mentioned, you want to give your tree around 100 feet of open, unobstructed ground space.
Even if you don't have a huge silver maple now, this can quickly change over the next few years. So, we recommend leaving space and keeping tabs on where its roots are spreading.
If you notice the maple roots headed for your house, you'll need to stop them. An excellent way to do this is by creating a protective barrier, using large stones, a high-quality soil mix, or installing root barriers to a depth of 18 to 24 inches.
According to 72 Tree, you might also want to consult an arborist and have them perform root pruning on your invasive maple roots, although this can be complex and more expensive.
Again, it's better to shell out money now for pruning rather than needing to replace or repair your home's entire foundation.
Which Maple Tree Has The Shallowest Roots?
Silver, Norway, and red maple trees typically have the shallowest roots out of this species.
As we said, silver maple trees sprawl horizontally rather than vertically, often becoming major problems to sidewalks, foundations, and vegetation.
The same applies to Norway and red maples, as they're about the same.
One interesting fact about maple trees with shallower roots is that they're very resilient.
Even though your tree may stand 80+ feet tall upon maturity, its roots won't be more than a few feet (possibly around ten in some cases), but they're still able to hold their own.
So, silver maples shouldn't completely topple over in heavy winds, rain, or other natural disasters. However, that's not to say extreme conditions won't lift your tree from the ground and cause significant damage, but it's less frequent.
What Maple Has The Deepest Roots?
Switching gears, maple trees with deeper roots include sugar and Japanese varieties. Sugar maples are one of the more popular options for people wanting to make syrup, and they also feature deep, intricate root systems.
Furthermore, Japanese maples, although small, also develop deep roots. Of maples, these two varieties will have the deepest, most secure roots, so if you're looking for a deeper option, these are the two we recommend.
On top of that, because their root systems sprawl deeper into the soil, a Japanese and sugar maple shouldn't be as likely to damage sidewalks, pathways, foundations, or other nearby plants.
Again, that's not to say they can't, but it's less likely than silver maple.
How Big Will My Silver Maple Get?
Silver maples typically have a mature height of 50-80 feet. Of course, this depends on environmental factors and how well they're taken care of, so every maple tree will be unique.
As we mentioned earlier, silver maples are relatively fast-growing, sometimes exceeding three feet yearly. So, your tree can become 80+ feet tall over a decade or two.
Again, the roots of your tree will also grow and mature during this time. As your silver maple becomes larger and heavier, it will need to create a vast enough root system to stay in the ground.
When it comes to their spread, your tree might see 35-50 feet of branch coverage. So this can become a centerpiece within your landscaping.
Remember, the more open, clear space a silver maple tree has, the better.
To Finish It All Up
Whether you have a silver maple tree planted in your garden or want to grow one, it's essential to understand one's root system. We found that a silver maple tree typically has shallow roots, but they make up for it in their spread.
In addition, your tree's roots will lift from the soil to secure it in place. That can wreak havoc on your sidewalk, foundation, pool, patio, or nearby vegetation.
Therefore, we recommend planting a silver maple 100 feet or more away from your house to prevent any significant damage from occurring as it ages.
Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related tree posts below!
How To Tell If A Japanese Maple Is Dead - And How To Revive It
How Far Apart To Plant Maple Trees - By Type Of Maple